5 Magickal Ways to Engage Plants Everyday
Herbal medicine and healing can be as mysterious, mundane or magickal as you please.
Myself, I tend towards the everyday magickal infused with moments of enchanted wonderbliss. The following are five simple ways to engage with herbal medicine magickally to grow your relationships with your plant kindred. If you're looking for a more in-depth way to connect with your plant allies, check out my Plant Ally Project: Thirty Day Challenge. And if you want to know more about practicing engaged herbalism, come this way.
Journaling with herbs
I’m a fan of journaling. I think it is an easy, inexpensive, and therapeutic form of self-reflection that can help us to release tension, re-member who we are, and develop new habits and practices. Journaling with herbs adds a twist to the practice that can help us to integrate the wisdom of plant medicine into our lives.
I suggest that you start by writing a journal entry in the voice of a chosen plant friend. I and plenty of herbalist will speak about plants from a first-person plant perspective when we’re teaching or working with clients. As someone who writes a lot and has kept a journal since I was a little kid, writing about a plant is one important way that I begin to really understand a plant and its healing qualities in a way that allows me to communicate that knowledge to others. Otherwise, it gets a bit Pisces over here with lots of hazy galaxy swimming but not necessarily a lot of comprehensive and shareable words pouring forth. In all of my plant profiles I include a section about the type of personality and life circumstances that a plant consistently serves well and it is in this section that I most often hear the voice of the plant speaking to me loudest. They are able to share with me, through their unique perspective and personality, the ways that they bring healing and restoration about. Consistently journaling keeps my plant writing skills supple.
Try some of the following prompts to get you started!
- In conversation with the plant, complete these sentences with their words:
- I want you to know right now…
- I would love for you to consider…
- My gifts are…
- I work best for those who are…
- Write down a recent healing experience with a plant ally.
- Turn your healing experience into a teaching story such as a fairy tale that you could easily share with others to communicate the healing qualities of your plant ally to someone else.
- Ask your plant ally something and write down anything that comes through without restricting yourself in the similar vein to automatic writing.
Clever ones, if you practice any sort of divinatory arts, whether card-based or not, I highly recommend connecting with your plant allies through your chosen oracular medium. My journey with plants and tarot have been intertwined and a so I love connecting with my plant allies by casting cards. It can be as simple as asking the plant a question (i.e. what guidance do you have to offer today?) or a more complex spread such as my Wild Tongue: Plant Ally Tarot Spread. The process can be quite illuminating and meditative, easily forming the foundation for a daily devotional practice if you so choose.
If you’re interested in learning more about the connections between our plant kindred and the wondrous world of tarot, be sure to check out my Herbal Tarot Wisdom series.
Adorning the Soul Shrine
There is a certain understanding of the body within indigenous Celtic practice as a soul shrine which I find to be beautiful and resonant with plant medicine. Rather than separating the body from the sacred the body is imbued with and is itself a temple and sacred vessel of the soul. Herbal medicine works not only on the physiological level in the body but our plant kindred work with the intangible spirit of our beings. With plants, we can clear, cleanse, and adorn our soul shrines with healing energy. The following is simple list of ways to do so:
Herbal baths are simple, sweet, and effective remedies. You can take a full bath or a foot or hand bath as space and time allows. My favorite way to brew a bath is to start a strong infusion of herbs in the morning (A handful of herbs to about 4 cups water) and strain them in the evening when I’m ready for my bath. I draw my bath, sometimes adding in salts to the water, and then add my bath brew. This way there are no herbs to clean up afterwards and the strong infusion means I am taking full advantage of the healing gifts of the plants. Check out my recipes for my Post-Apocalyptic Bath Salts and Temple Bath Tea for some inspiration!
Shower Rinse + Bundles
Create an infusion as you would for a bath tea, but use it as a rinse in your shower. Aromatic herbs, like fresh Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), can be bundled and hung from the shower head or shower curtain rod while you bathe. The steamy conditions will help release the aromatic scent of the plant bundle which feels like taking a bath in a garden - how divine!
Create a body spray with essential and herbal oils, hydrosols, flower and gem essences, and healing water (bonus points for creating a Moon infused water). Body sprays can also double as room and altar sprays. I’m a fan of the simplicity of body sprays and have made a variety over the years including one for each day of the week according to astrological correspondences (so a Moon spray for Mondays and a Venus spray for Fridays, etc.). Add a piece of quartz crystal to the bottle of your body spray to enhance the energies of all other oils and essences in the blend.
Herbal Oils + Scrubs
Herbal oils (as opposed to essential oils) are a lovely and easy form of plant medicine adornment. Create a calming Lavender (Lavandula officinalis) herbal oil for a calming and meditative rub or a skin-healing and pain-relieving Comfrey Root (Symphytum officinale) herbal oil. You can add essential oils to your herbal oil if you like, but it’s not necessary. Herbal oils can be mixed with sugar, salt, almond meal, earth clays, and other materials to create easy and exfoliating herbal scrubs. I use honey in my recipe for my Beautiful Buzz Honey Scrub which would be even more luxurious with the addition of a Rose (Rosa spp.) herbal oil.
Singing the Spirit Home
I love singing with the plants, clever ones. I sing when I visit them in the garden and wild places. I sing when making remedies. I sing with clients and my community in consultations and rituals. Most of the time the songs are wordless tunes in concert with the plants, but sometimes there are words. I have a remedy-making song, a trance song, and sing many songs that are passed around the Pagan culture I am part of.
Here’s the thing about singing with plants. It’s not about singing the “right” notes but about making a sacred sound. Your sacred sound which is unique to you and embodies your lived experience. It is that sound which hums through the universe as the signature of you. It is the sound that most readily mingles with the sound of the plant allies you are working with.
Next time you are studying a plant, whether in a garden or from a book, take a moment of quiet stillness. Ask the plant to share its song with you and let the sound arise. Give the sound an easy conduit and let it flow through you. You might squawk or crack or tremble, but let the sound catch and carry you. Trust your sound and get into the flow of you and plant singing together.
Some plants may share specific melodies, others might share words. I have known plants to point you in the direction of an already written song that they inspired someone else to write whether a pop song or a old time ballad. Open up to the possibilities of whatever sound might emerge.
Before you head out the door, why not carry some of that herbal magick with you in the form of a plant charm. You could add bit of herb to a small pouch or bundle to wear around your neck, waist or tuck into a pocket. Tuck a few flowers or leaves into your hair. A small bottle can contain bits of herb, lucky stones, and a small written sigil that you can wear on your person or keep in your bag. I’ve even charmed a necklace with the essence of an plant and worn that as my daily amulet. Whatever form your charm takes, be sure to set your intention with the charm by working with your plant ally to determine the work that you will be doing together that day. A bundle of Rose petals and thorns (Rosa spp.), for example, may help to open your heart while still protecting it from unnecessary drama. Have fun and experiment!
That was fun!
I hope you're inspired to live a bit more magickally in relationship with your plant allies. What are your favorite ways to connect with your plant allies on a daily basis? Share below in the comments!